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Safety Engineered Devices (SED)

Government of Alberta Legislation

Alberta Health Services has transitioned to safety engineered devices.

Over the past several months nearly 35,000 healthcare workers have been trained and transitioned to using safety engineered devices (SED).

With increasing concerns of occupational exposure to blood-borne viruses in healthcare settings, AHS is committed to using safer sharps devices that are designed to protect workers from injuries. However, with an increasing range of ‘sharp safety' devices on the market, deciding what to purchase is not a simple task.

Contracting, Procurement and Supply Management (CPSM) and Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) worked together with AHS vendors to secure the safety devices and to in-service clinicians across Alberta working in AHS operated facilities.

Not all situations may require the use of an SED. A waiver process is in place to accommodate the rare occasion where an SED is not commercially available or where patient or worker safety would be compromised. The waiver process only applies to physicians and staff working in AHS operated facilities. The waiver applications are reviewed by a provincial panel and as they come up for renewal, on-going research will be done to find a potentially suitable safety product.

CPSM and WHS will be continuing to work with user groups in sustaining SED compliance. There will be monitoring of SED product usage at six-month intervals to ensure a drift back to conventional items hasn't occurred.

This initiative aligns the Alberta Occupational Health & Safety Regulation and Code.

Definitions

Conventional Device – A sharps device that does not offer sharps injury protection.

Medical Device – health or medical instruments used in the mitigation, treatment, diagnosis, prevention of a disease or abnormal physical condition.

Safety Engineered Device (SED) – A device that has a built in sharps injury protection mechanism such as an attached sheath covering the needle or scalpel after use or needles that retract after use. Other types of safety devices include blunt needles or needle-less systems (Saskatchewan Labour, 2006). SEDs protect the user from exposure to blood borne pathogens or chemical hazards (i.e. cytotoxic medications).